Next Event on my schedule, reading at the Richland (MI) Library, Wednesday, January 14 at 7 p.m. No admission charge. See you there.
As of today we had 191 days with rain and 90 with snow (235 with rain and/or snow) for 64 % of the year. The 2014 animal count follows (2013 nos in parens)
2014 ANIMAL COUNT v (2013)
32,520 Hummingbirds (610)
800 Downy Woodpecker (323)
762 Redbelly Woodpecker (634)
726 Cliff Swallows (0)
675 Northern Flickers (123)
601 Pileated Woodpecker (342)
300 Deer (520)
270 Hairy Woodpecker
235 Turkey (258)
138 Nighthawks (0)
130 Sandhill Crane (854)
109 Dead deer (175)
68 Bald Eagle (215)
75 Pats (43)
58 Skunk (20)
57 Orioles (0)
53 Redtail hawk (101)
42 Loon (87)
36 Porcupines (51)
24 Yellowheaded Blackbirds (0)
22 Rabbits (14)
17 Coopers Hawk (39)
14 Blooeys (16)
13 Roswebreasted Grosbeaks (0)
12 Great blue heron (41)
11 Indigo Buntings (0)
10 Greater Yellowlegs (39)
10 Woodchuck (3)
9 Miscellaneous Hawk (5)
8 Osprey (15)
8 Yellowbelly Sapsucker (1)
7 Northern Harrier (9)
6 American Redstart
6 Cedarwaxwings (0)
6 Bear (11)
6 Moose (0)
6 Snake (12)
6 Longear Owls (0)
5 Wolf (9)
3 Weasel (0)
3 Turtles (19)
2 Fox (10)
2 Coyote (9)
2 Kingfisher (61)
3 Northern Goshawk (3)
3 Misc Owl (0)
3 Common Yellowthroat
2 Golden Eagle (3)
2 Broadwing Hawk (2)
2 American Bittern
2 GG Owl
2 Humoths (38)
2 Merlin (1)
2 Evening Grosbeaks (0)
2 Beaver (31)
1 American Coot (0)
1 Fisher (2)
1 Sharpshin Hawk (0)
1 Sprucies (7)
1 Raccoon (4)
1 Purple Finch (0)
1 Least Chipmunk )0)
1 Mink (3)
1 Blackburnian Warbler
1 Carolina Wren
1 Horned Lark
1 Redheaded Woodpecker
1 Spotted Sandpiper
1 Upland Sandpper
1 Snowy Owl (0)
1 Peregrine Falcon (0)
1 Redshoulder Hawk (0)
0 Black Ducks (4)
0 Otter (3)
0 Possum (3)
0 Pheasant (0)
0 Gray Jay (6)
0 Bard Owl (5)
0 Great Horned Owl (1)
0 Scarlet Tanager (0)
0 Lesser Yellow Legs (0)
0 Elk (0)
0 Great Gray Owl (2)
0 Whipoorwill (33)
0 Beaver (31)
0 Black Cormorant
0 Snowshoe hare (13)
0 Scarlet Tanager (0)
As every year, here’s what I read in 2014.
(1)Carolyn Ells, Michael G. Flaherty, Eds. Investigating Subjectivity: Research on Lived Experience. (1992) [NF]
(2)Welker Givson. Tough, Sweet & Stuffy: An Essay on Modern Prose Styles.(1966) [NF]
(3) Mary Ann Glendon. Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse. (1991) [NF]
(4)Edward H. Crane, Intro. Speaking Freely: The Public Interest in Unfettered Speech: Essays from Conservative Research (1995) [NF]
(5) Websters. Picturesque Word Origins. (1993) [NF]
(6)James Salter. There & Then; The Travel Writing of James Salter. (2005) [NF]
(7) Greg Grandin. Fordlandia.(2009) [NF]
(8) Jane Emery. Rose Macaulay: A Writer’s Life (1991) [NF]
(9) Tad Tuleja. Foreignisms. (1989) [NF]
(10) Marshall McLuhan. The Gutenberg Galaxy. (1962) [NF]
(11) Ford Madox Ford. Parade’s End (1924-25-26-28)
(12) Richard Davenport-Hines, Ed. Hugh Trevor-Roper: The Wartime Journals.(2012) [NF]
(13) Hugh Trevor-Roper. The Letters of Mercurius. (1970) [NF]
(14) Adam Sisman. An Honourable Englishman: The Life of Hugh Trevor-Roper. (2010) [NF]
(15) E.B. White. Essays of e.b. white. (1977) [NF]
(16) Phillip Lopate. Portrait Inside My Head (2013) [NF]
(17) George Packer. The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America. (2013) [NF]
(18) Elizabeth Raum. The Aztec Empire. (2013) [NF][Juvie]
(19) Allison Lassieur. The Battle of Bull Run (2009) [NF]
(20) Allison Lassieur. The Middle Ages. (2010) [NF]
(21) Scott Andrew Selby. A Serial Killer in Nazi Berlin: The Chilling True Story of the S-Bahn Murderer. (2014) [NF]
(22)Amir D. Aczel. The Jesuit& the Skull: Teilhard de Chardin, Evolution, and the Search for Peking Man. (2007) [NF]
(23) Robert M. Gates. Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War. (2014) [NF]
(24) John Dos Passos. Three Soldiers (1921) [NF]
(25) Marcel Proust. On Art and Literature. (1954) [NF]
(26) Hilton Als. White Girls (2013) [NF]
(27) Rimbaud. Illuminations and Other Prose Poems (1946) [NF]
(28) Paul D. Staudohar. Baseball’s Best Short Stories (1995) [NF]
(29) Michel de Montaigne. The Complete Essays. (1994/1568) [NF]
(30) Diane Osen. Ed. The Book That Changed My Life: Interviews withi National Book Award Winners and Finalists (2002) [NF]
(31) Jincy Willett. Winner of the National Book Award (2003) [NF]
(32) Edmund White. Rimbaud: The Double Life of a Rebel. (2008) [NF]
(33) Logan Pearsall Smith. Unforgotten Years (1939) [NF]
(34) Stillman Drake, Trans. Discoveries and Opinions of Gallileo (1957/1610-13-15-23) [NF]
(35) Ann Roiphe. Art and Madness: A Memoir of Lust Without Reason (2011) [NF]
(36) Grace Tiffany. Paint. (2013) [NF]
(37) James McBride. The Good Lord Bird. (2013) [NF]
(38) Jim Harrison. Brown Dog. (2013) [NF]
(39) John H. Ritter. The Boy Who Saved Baseball. (2005) [NF]
(40) Liza Picard. Elizabeth’s London (2003) [NF]
(41) Neil MacGregor. Shakespeare’s Restless World: A Portrait of An Era in Twenty Objects (2012) [NF]
(42) Gail Kern Paster, Intro. Shakespeare: The Essential Guide to the Life and Workds of the Bard (2007) [NF]
(43) Neil MacGregor. Shakespeare’s Restless World: An Unexpected History in Twenty Objects (2013) [NF]
(44) Emile Zola. The Ladies’ Paradise (2008) [NF]
(45) Maxine Hong Kingston. Tripmaster Monkey: His Face Book (1987)
(46) Ian Mortimer. The Time Traveler’s Guide: Elizabethan England (2012) [NF]
(47) Paul Dickson. Words from the White House (2013) [NF]
(48) John Smolens. My One and Only Bomb Shelter (2000) [NF]
(49) Albert Camus. The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays (1955) [NF]
(50) Jim Nye. After Shock: Poems and Prose from the Vietnam War (1991) [NF]
(51) Norman F. Cantor. In the Wake of the Plague: The Black Death & the World It Made (2001) [NF]
(52) Leo Damrosch. Jonathon Swift: His Life and His World. (2013) [NF]
(53) George Simenon. Maigret in Holland. (1940)
(54) William Benzon. Beethoven’s Anvil. (2001) [NF]
(55) Robert Mason Lee. Death and Deliverance: The True Story of an Airplane Crash at the North Pole. (1993) [NF]
(56) Jim Wallis. God’s Politics: A New Vision for Faith and Politics in America. (2005) [NF]
(57) Neal Stephenson. Snow Crash. (1992)
(58) Willa Cather. One of Ours (2008)
(59) Jamesd Dale Davidson & Lord William Rees-Moog. The Sovereign Individual: How To Survive and Thrive During the Collapse of the Welfare State.(1997) [NF]
(60) Rory Muir. Wellington: The Path To Victory, 1789-1814. (2013)[NF]
(61) Joseph Heywood. Harder Ground: Stories From the Distaff Planet. (2014) [SS/draft]
(62) John Sugden. Nelson: The Sword of Albion. (2012) [NF]
(63) Neal Stephenson. Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing. (2012) [NF]
(64) Neal Stephenson. In The Beginning Was the Command Line. (1999) [NF]
(65) Neal Stephenson. Reamde. (2011)
(66) Joseph Heywood. Man in Sky Judging Sin (2008) [Draft]
(67) Phil Klay. Redeployment. (2014) [NF]
(68) Peter Geye. The Lighthouse Road.
(69) Joseph Heywood. Harder Ground. [MS] [SS]
(70) S. Andrew Swann. Zimmerman’s Algorithm (2000)
(71) Lydia Davies. The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis. (2009) [SS]
(72) Joseph Heywood. Brown Ball. [MS]
(73) Leo Tolstoy. The Death of Ivan Illyich,(1886) (1981)
(74) Dorothy Gardiner, Kathrine Sorely Walker, Eds. Raymond Chandler Speaking.[NF]
(75) Burton Bernstein. Thurber: A Biography. (1975) [NF]
(76) Jim Fisher, Ed. The Writer’s Quote Book: Authors on Creativity, Craft, and the Writing Life. (2006) [NF]
(77) Arthur King Peters, Pref. Jean Cocteau and the French Scene. (1984) [NF]
(78) Paul Horgan. Things As They Are. (1951) [NF]
(79) Joseph Heywood. Brown Ball. (2014) [MS]
(80) Paul Horgan.A Certain Climate: Essays In History, Arts, And Letters. (1988) [NF]
(81) Paul Horgan. Great River: The Rio Grande in North American History. (1984) [NF]
(82) Robert L. Willett. Russian Sideshow: America’s Undeclared War, 1918-1920. (2003) [NF]
(83) Christopher Clark. The Sleepwalkers.
(84) Dennis Gordon. Quartered in Hell, ANREF 1918-1919. (1982) [NF]
(85) Hilary Hemingwaqy & Jeffry P. Lindsay. Hunting With Hemingway. (2000) [NF]
(86) Denis Brian. The True Gen: An Intimate Portrait of Hemingway By Those Who Knew Him. (1988) [NF]
(87) Tarashea Nesbit. The Wives of Los Alamos.
(88) Edvard Raqdzinsky. The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas II. (1992) [NF]
(89) David Abrams. Fobbit. (2012)
(90) Stephen Greenblatt. The Swerve: How The World Became Modern.(2011) [NF]
(91) Lorrie Moore. Bark. (2014) [SS]
(92) C.J.Box. Stone Cold. (2014)
(93) Robert Mason Lee.Death and Deliverance: The True Story of An Airplane Crash at the North Pole. (1992)[NF]
(94) Robert Thurber. The Last Flower: A Parable in Pictures. (1939) (2007)
(95) Joseph Heywood. Mountains of the Misbegotten. (MS)
(96) Christopher Fowler. The Invisible Code. (2013)
(97) Pete Hamill. A Drinking Life: A Memoir. (1994) [NF]
(98) Hannah Arendt. The Last Interview, And Other Conversations. (1965) [NF]
(99) Tom Piazza. My Cold War: A Novel. (2003)
(100) R.C. Collingwood. The Idea of History. (1946) [NF]
(101) Sharyn McCrumb. Bimbos of the Death Sun. (1988)
(102) Lorin Stein and Sadie Stein, Eds. Object Lessons: The Art of the Short Story.(2012) [SS]
(103) Mark Ford. Raymond Roussel and the Republic of Dreams. (2000) [NF]
(104) Stephen Jay Gould. Hen’s Teeth and Horse’s Toes: Further Reflections on Natural History. (1983) [NF]
(105) Lawrence Grobel. Conversations With Capote. (1985)[NF]
(106) Sharyn McCrumb. If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O. (1990)
(107) Sherman Alexie. Flight. (2007)
(108) Cynthia Griffin Wolff. Emily Dickinson. (1986) [NF]
(109) Robert Harris. An Officer and a Spy.
(110) Catherine Drinker Bowen. Francis Bacon: Temper of a Man. (1963) [NF]
(111) David W. Wagner.Death in the Dolomites. (2014)
(112) Hillary L. Chute. Outside the Box. Interviews With Contemporary Cartoonists. (2014)[NF]
(113) Charles P. Pierce. Idiot America: How Stupidity Became A Virtue in the Land of the Free. (2009) [NF]
(114) William S. McFeely. Portrait: The Life of Thomas Eakins. (2007) [NF]
(115)Joseph Heywood. Mountains of the Misbegotten. (Proofs) (2015)
(116) Ray Bradbury.Fahrenheit 451. (1951)
(117) Edvard Radzinsky. The Last Tsar: The Life and Death of Nicholas II. (1992) [NF]
(118) Capt. Joel R. Moore, Lt Harry H. Meade, and Lt. Lewis E. Johns. History of the American Expedition Fighting the Bolsheviks: US Military Intervention in Soviet
Russia, 1918-1919. (1920) [NF]
(119) Geroge F. Kennan. Sketches From A Life. (1989) [NF]
(120) Stephen Greenblatt. Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare. (1980) [NF]
(121) Jon Young. What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World. (2012) [NF]
(122) George F. Kennan. Russia Leaves the War.(1956) [NF]
(123) Sheila Burnford. The Fields of Noon. (1961) [NF]
(124) Stefan Fatsis. Word Freak: Heatbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players.(2001) [NF]
(125) Neil Gainman. Anansi Boys. (2005) [NF]
(126) Godfrey J.Anderson. A Michigan Polar Bear Confronts the Bolsheviks: A War Memoir. (2010) [NF]
(127) R.G. Collingwood. The Principles of Art. (1938) [NF]
(128) John D. Stevens. From the Back of a Foxhole: Black Correspondents in World War Two. (1966) [NF]
(129) Grace Tiffany. My Father Had a Daughter.(2003)
(130) Col Robert L. Smalsewr, USA. The Siberian Expedition, 1918-1920. “An Early Option Other Than War. (1994) [NF]
(131) Richard Goldhurst. The Midnight War: The American Intervention in Russia, 1918-1920. (1978) [NF]
(132) Philip Roth. The Plot Against America. (2004)
(133) Ignacio de Loyola Brandao. Teeth Under The Sun. (1976)
(134) Clifford Kinvig. Churchill’s Crusade: The British Invastion of Russia, 1918-1920. (2006) [NF]
(135) Paula Young Lee. Deer Hunting in Paris: A Memoir of God, Guns, and Game Meat. (2013) [NF]
(136) J.D. Salinger. The Catcher in the Rye. (1951)
(137) George F. Kennan. The Decision to Intervene. (1958) [NF]
(138) Neil Gaiman. Smoke and Mirrors. (1998) [SS]
(139) George F.Kennan. Tent Life in Siberia: An Incredible Account of Siberian Adventure,Travel and Survival. (2007) [NF]
(140) Isaac Asimov. In Memory Yet Green: Isaac Asimov, 1920-1954. (19790 [NF]
(141) Charles Kuralt. A Life On The Road. (1990) [NF]
(142) Carol Brightman.Writing Dangerously: Mary McCarthy and Her World. (1992) [NF]
(143) Hannah Arendt. The Origins of Totalitarianism. (1950) [NF]
(144) Rick Atkinson. The Guns At Last Light, the War in Western Europe, 1944-1945. (2013) [NF]
(145) Mary McCarthy. The Stones of Florence. (1956) [NF]
(146) Mary McCarthy. Venice Observed. (1956) [NF]
(147) Bernard B. Fall. Street Without Joy:The French Debacle in Indochina. (1961) [NF]
(148) Cynthia Owen Phillip. Rhinecliff: A Hudson River History: The Tangle Tale of Rhinebeck’s Wataerfront. (2008) [NF]
(149) Mary McCarthy. On the Contrary. (1961) [NF]
(150) Frances Fitzgerald. Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam. (1972) [NF]
(151) Bernard B. Fall. Hell in a Very Small Village: The Seige of Dien Bien Phu. (1966). [NF]
(152) Mary McCarthy. The Writing on the Wall, And Other Literary Essays. (1962) [NF]
(153) Lucinga Gosling. Brushes & Bayonets: Cartoons, Sketches and Paintings of World War I. (2008) [NF]
(154) Lyndsay Faye. The Gods of Gotham. (2012)
(155) Marja Mills. The Mockingbird Next Door. (2014) [NF]
(156) Mary McCarthy. Ideas and the Novel. (1980) [NF]
(157) Lindsay Faye. Seven For A Secret. (2013)
(158) Thomas Babington MacCauley. Lays of Ancient Rome. (1842) (NF]
(159) Ingrid D. Rowland. From Pompeii. (2014) [NF]
(160) Charles Lamb. Selected Prose. (1985) [NF]
(161) Thomas P. Macaulay. Critical and Historical Essays. (1850/2006) [NF]
(162) Douglas Brinkley, Ed. The Reagan Diaries. (2007) [NF]
(163) B.G. Burkell and Glenna Whitley. Stolen Valor. (1998) [NF]
(164) Ann Scott Tyson. American Spartan. (2014) [NF]
(165) Roy Lamson & Hallett Smith. The Golden Hind: An Anthology of Elizabethan Prose & Poetry. (1942) [NF]
(166) Pat Dennis, Ed. Who Died in Here? (2004) [SS]
(167) C.J. Box. Shots Fired. (2014) [SS]
(168) Beth Macy. Factory Man. (2014)
(169) William Hjortsberg. Jubilee Hitchhiker: The Life and Times of Richard Brautigan. (2012) [NF]
(170) Donna Tartt. The Goldfinch. (2013)
(171) Evgeny Morozov. To Save Everything, Click Here. (2013) [NF]
(172) James Wood. How Fiction Works. (2008) [NF]
(173) V.S.Pritchett. The Living Novel & Later Appreciations. (1947) [NF]
(174)Remni Browne & Dave King. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. (2004) [NF]
(175)Charles Baxter. Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction. (1997) [NF]
(176)James Wood. The Irresponsible Self: On Laughter and the Novel (2004) [NF]
(177) John F.Barber. Richard Brautigan: Essays on the Writings and Life (2007) [NF}
(179) Nancy Farm Mannikko, Ed. Memories and More: An Informal History of Herman, Michigan. (2001) [NF]
(180) Richard Brautigan. In Watermelon Sugar. (1968)
(181) Richard Brautigan. Loading Mercury With A Pitchfork (1971) [P]
(182) Richard Brautigan. Rommel Drives Deep Into Egypt. (1970) [P]
(183) Ricahrd Brautigan. Revenge of the Lawn: Stories, 1962-1970. (1971) [SS]
(184) Richard Brautigan. Dreaming of Babylon: A Private Eye Novel 1942. (1977)
(185) Philip F. Gura. Truth’s Ragged Edge: The Rise of the American Novel (2013) [NF]
(186) Richard Brautigan. An Unfortunate Woman. (2000)
(187) Alan K. Hoagland. Mine Towns. (2010) [NF]
(188) Charles R. “Butch”Farabee Jr. National Park Ranger: And American Icon. (2003) [NF]
(189) James Wood. The Fun Stuff. (2012) [NF]
(190) Granta Issue. American Wild. (Summer 2014)
(191) Douglas Bauer. The Stuff of Fiction: Advice on Craft. (2000/2006) [NF]
(192) Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard. Killing Jesus: A History. (2013) [NF]
(193) Susan Jacoby. Wild Justice: The Evolution of Revenge. (1983) [NF]
(194) Francine Prose. Reading Like A Writer. (2007) [NF]
(195) E.M.Forster. Aspects of the Novel. (1927) [NF]
(196) Thomas C. Foster. How To Read Literature Like A Professor. (2003) [NF]
(197) Matsuo Basho. Basho: The Complete Haiku. (2008) [P]
(198) Thomas McGuane. Nothing But Blue Skies. (1992)
(199) Thomas McGuane. Gallatin Canyon. (2006) [SS]
(200) Peter Gizzi and Kevin Killian. My Vocabulary Did This To Me: The Colleted Poetry of Jack Spicer. (2008) [P]
(201) Robert Claiborne. Our Marvelous Native Tongue: The Life and Time of the English Language. (1983) [NF]
(202) Alexander Woollcott. While Rome Burns (1934) [NF]
(203) Peter Gizzi, Ed. The House That Jack Built: The Colleted Lectures of Jack Spicer. (1998) [NF]
(204) David Landis Barnhill, Intro, Ed. Basho’s Journey: The Literary Prose of Matsuo Basho. (2005) [NF]
(205) Paul Ebendamp, Ed. The Etiquette of Freedom, Gary Snyder, Jim Harrison and the Practice of the Wild. (2010) [NF]
(206) Richard Brautigan. The Tokyo-Montana Express. (1980)
(207) Peter Brooks. Reading For the Plot:Design and Intention in Narrative. (1984) [NF]
(208) Dylan Thomas. The Collected Stories. (1986) [SS]
(209) Peter Brooks. The Melodramatic Imagination: Balzac, Henry James, Melodrama and the Mode of Excess. (1976) [NF]
(210) Charles Cumming. A Spy By Nature. (2001)
(211) George Orwell. A Collection of Essays. (1946) [NF]
(212) Gehard Boch and Blaine Hill, Eds. Conversations With Grace Paley. (1997) [NF]
(213) John Gardner. The Life and Times of Chaucer (1977) [NF]
(214) Tom Robbins. Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of An Imaginative Life. (2014) [NF]
(215) Doris Kearns Goodwin. The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, Wm Howard Taft and the Golden Age of Journalism. (2013) [NF]
(216) Simon Winchester. The Men Who United the States: America’s Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics, and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible. (2013) [NF]
(217) Grace Paley. The Collected Stories. (1994) [NF]
(218) Grace Paley. Enormous Changes At The Last Minute. (1974) [SS]
(219) Denise Kiernan. The Girls of Atom City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II. (2013) [NF]
(220) Mary Doria Russell. The Sparrow. (1976)
(221) Christopher Hutchins. Mortality. (2014) [NF]
(222) Peter Mendelsund. What We See When We Read. (2014) [NF]
(223) Robert Shepard and James Thomas. Sudden Fiction (Continued). (1996) [SS]
(224) Hannah Pittard. The Fates Will Find Their Way. (2011)
(225) Laura Claridge. Norman Rockwell: A Life. (2001) [NF]
(226) Janet Malcolm. Forty-One False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers. (2013) [NF]
(227) Philip Caputo. In the Shadows of Morning: Essays on Wild Lands, Wild Waters, and a Few Untamed People.(2014) [NF]
(228) Charles Cumming. The Hidden Man. (2003)
(229) Elizabeth Wein. Code Name Verity. (2012)
(230) Paul Collins. Edgar Allan Poe: The Fever Called Living. (2014) [NF]
(231) Edwin Way Teale. Autumn Across America. (1956) [NF]
(232) Elizabeth Wein. Rose Under Fire (2013)
(233) Richard Kellogg. Wall of Silver. (2004) [NF]
(234) Elizabeth Wein. The Sunbird. (2004)
(235) Joan Dunning. The Loon: Voice of the Wilderness. (1985) [NF]
(236) Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo. Cop Killer. (1975)
(237) Edwin Way Teale. The Lost Woods. (1945) [NF]
(238) Edwin Way Teale. A Naturalist Buys An Old Farm. (1974) [NF]
(239) Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo.The Fire Engine That Disappeared. (1970)
(240) Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo. The Man Who Went Up in Smoke. (1969)
(241) Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo.Murder At The Savoy. (1971)
(242) Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo.The Man on The Balcony. (1968)
(243) Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo. The Laughing Policeman. (1970)
(244) George Kennan. A Russian Comedy of Errors. (1923) [NF}
(245) T.W. Charleton. The Art of Fishing. A Poem. (1819) [P]
(246) Keith Abbott. Downstream of Trout Fishing In America. (1989) [NF]
(247) Keith Abbott, Intro. Richard Brautigan: The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writings. (1999)
(248) Louise Penny. The Long Way Home. (2014)
(249) Brian Turner. My Life As A Foreign Country: A Memoir. (2014) [NF]
(250) Bernard Du Boucheron. The Voyage of the Short Serpent. (2008)
(251) Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo. Roseanna. (1967)
(252) Joseph Heywood. Harder Ground. (2015) [SS-Page Proofs]
(253) Joseph Heywood. Buckular Dystrophy. (MS)
(256) G.R. Kastys. Petroskey: A Leelanau Portrait (2008) [NF]
(257) Park Homan. Cristopher Marlow: Poet & Spy (2005) [NF]
(258) James Shapiro. A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599.  [NF]
(259) Bryan Gruley. The Hanging Tree. 
(260) Linda Mugglestone. Lost For Words: The Hidden History of the Oxford English Dictionary.  [NF]
(261) Patti Polk. Collecting Agates and Jaspers of North America.  [NF]
(262) John McPhee. Encounters With the Archdruid.  [NF]
(263) Sigurd F. Olson. Runes of the North.  [NF]
(264) David Quammen. Wild Thoughts From Wild Places.  [NF]
(265) Atwood Manley and Margaret Manley Mangum. Frederic Remington and the North Country: An informal Biography of the Artist of the Old West.  [NF]
(266) Betsy Burton. The King’s English:Adventures of an Independent Bookseller 
(267) Warren Chappell. A Short History of The Printed Word. (1970) [NF]
(268) L. David Mech. The Wolf. (1970) [NF]
(270) Jerry Dennis. A Daybreak Journal. (2014) [P]
(271) Joseph Heywood. Harder Ground (2015) [SS-Proofs]
(272) Toshiko Kobayashi. Insight Track (2014) [NF]
(273) Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo. The Terrorists. (1976)
(274) Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo. The Abominable Man. (1972)
(275) Theodosius Dobzhansky. Mankind Evolving: The Evolution of the Human Species. (1962) [NF]
(276) Joseph Heywood. Buckular Dystrophy.[Final Draft]
I’ve finished clean draft of BUCKULAR DYSTROPHY (Woods Cop #10) and now Lonnie is reading the manuscript, the normal progression. One day from the end of the year it is time to play with language and ideas outside any restraints. There is rhythm in language even in newspaper obituary headlines. You often need to read language aloud to appreciate the cadence and rhythms and sheer joy of expression.
Once it was $cores from ballgame$, voting outcome$, or fi$hing report$ from around the $tate but now we in our dotage read the obit$ (if we can find an actual new$paper). For year$ I’ve collected obit$ of notable$, thinking $omeday I’d piddle with all of thi$ and create $ome $ort of purple$h pro$e thing. $o, let u$ begin with some prelim$, $traight from the headline$:
($elect Any name You Want for the Obit you want to write) and $tart cataloging…Who Made Hou$ecalls to the Vulnerable, la$t of a college football breed, journali$t in Jeru$alem and author, Pacific war $ubmariner, Navajo word-warrior, $wiss chemi$t who won the Nobel, prolific my$tery writer, handicapped fire buff, pa$$enger on the Titanic (Aboard the La$t Lifeboat), Bubble Gum inventor, a key $oviet defector, inventor with eye$ on Future (a hor$e that ran regularly and predictably in pack-back$ at $anta Anita but always$ filled the field and parlay card$), thi$ per$on $o accompli$hed it defie$ des$cription, nevermind (nevermore?) economy, he being a $mall but $killed Ranger (on ice, not in park$, though he no doubt played on pond$ in hi$ Quebecoi$ youthhood), rocketry pioneer, arti$t who taught cele$tial navigation (indeed some art is one and same, and need we add Twinkle, Twinkle or Fir$t $tar $eenTonight?), $oldier, $cholar, mini$ter, rebel (thi$ $ounds like a John Le Carre title, not Y.A.), we are confounded here by $hallow paper head$ over deep, long live$, gold miner’$ daughter, conqueror of Evere$t (the mountain, not the cemetery), Lincoln’$ la$t kin, la$t $kin in the $kein one might $ay, and on Chri$tma$ Eve, talk genetic lo$er-bummer$ in timing, $talag 17 $urvivor, de$igner of A-bomb trigger (a new character candidate for Big Bang Theory one think$), lover of the high life, he held many job$ (OTBE, indeed), succe$$ful and colorful NA$CAR pioneer, Bataan Death march $urvivor, inventor of DAY GLO paint (no tripper him$elf, he paved the way for L$Dietie$), re$pected by All John Hiigh$cccaampp All to be preci$e, an ice cream expert, ver$atile actor-comedian, $elf-$tyled king of the Gyp$ie$ verywhere (except perhaps$ for the next de$tination, this wi$ely left un$pecified in the obit), fought Team$ter$ for reform (not the $chool),champion of $oviet Jew$ (exact event unnoted), architect of witty design$, fighter for native fi$hing right$, danger-loving e$cape arti$t (one pre$ume$ he fell one $hort of perfection), drawn to Forbidden Dateline$, helped launch PLAYBOY, teller of $keleton’$ tale$, left acting to aid Ethiopian$, maker of photographic narrative$, out$poken medical editor, expire$ of $peaking out (one wonder$?). All Die alone, most unknown, even tho$e feted in the shallow water$ of paid obituarite$.
My publisher has asked me to “update, COVERED WATERS: TEMPESTS OF A NOMADIC TROUTER. This will go to press sometime in 2015. The piece that follows will be part of it. This is the roughest of drafts, but gets the message across.
Flashback to sometime before 1965 and my friend and teammate Bill Haeger and I have trooped north to hunt rabbits. We are staying at his family cottage on the north end of Torch Lake, and hunting a swamp between Torch and Lake Michigan, a nasty tangle of jungle home to a large population of rabbits. This is a yearly winter trek for us.
All morning we took turns beagling, one man bouncing on piles of brush, the other posting to await runners. We were serious pot hunters to be sure, and looking forward to frying rabbit in a pan, and to some cold beer to wash it down.
Bill and I played on the same MSU lacrosse team line as forwards (attackmen), with our pal Dave Wagner. Wags was our finesse man. In our senior year the three of us were tri-captains. Bill and I were then both 6-4 and in the range of 210-230 pounds, solid as raw steaks. We were gritty, sandy people and made this trek every winter from East Lansing, just the two of us.
We played the same style of game, one with an excess of aggression and a modicum of touch, both engaging the opposition with a kind of steely no-quit determination that isn’t easily described to those who don’t have it in their marrow. During the season we were inseparable, together constantly, and in the off-season as well, often with beers in hand, and Coral Gables bar bands blasting in the background.
It was a “Basho kind of day”: Winter solitude/in a world of one color/the sound of wind. We have just pounded our way through the deep swamp and thigh-deep snow. We wore boots, but not snowshoes. Too much climbing around and over brushpiles for les raquettes. They were for other times and other places. It was nearing noon (or maybe it wasn’t). The day was sludge-gray and we were within sight of Lake Michigan and winter swells heaving relentlessly onto shore, stacking up ice castles.
“Something’s out there,” Bill said, squinting at the lake. He always squinted, helmet on or helmet off.
I looked and saw it, a speck of dark in the swells, a log perhaps?
“It’s a deer!” Bill whispered tensely.
We immediately headed for the ice shelf and sure enough there we saw a doe riding the swells. We watched the wave action bring her to the undercut shelf, suck her down into the undertow, and spit her back to the lake. How this would end seemed clear, the only question how long would take. We could see that she was oh-so-close to being able to flop up onto land again, but we could also see her tank was almost empty, and the big lake had no intention of letting go of her.
No discussions took place. There was no need. We were friends and teammates, and just as we were on the playing field, we instinctively know what each other was thinking, and likely to do next. We looked hard at the ice shelf. Bill said, “I can reach her.” Not I think I can, but I can, simply stated, intent born of the gut and ironclad will. That’s Bill.
He got down on his belly and crawled forward. When he got to the edge, he stretched his long arms over the razory lip of the shelf and waited as the deer rode toward us. I got down, and took hold of his boots, getting one under each of my arms, the anchor in this play. There we lay in silence, college boys, hearing only the cold thunderclap of waves up and down the beach and feeling the fine spray in the air, coating us. If we stayed too long or fell in, we knew we would be frozen into the beach until spring breakup.
My friend made a stab but missed. The deer went under again, pushed by waves and gravity down the sloped shelf beneath us. We waited and saw her pop up again about thirty yards out. She immediately begins again to swim toward shore. When she rises on the next wave — a millisecond before she will be flung under again, Bill grabbed her ears and her neck and head and with one mighty heave jerked her to his right onto the ledge and his adrenaline heaved her to skid on her side past me. I pulled Bill back, and we get up, both of us grinning. We looked at the doe, who was stunned and not ready to get up. We had done all we could do.
He looked at me with his stupid grin, said, “I don’t think we have a future in the circus.”
We did not linger out on the ice. Clearly the deer was in a place that calved and we did not want to repeat her bad luck. Our clothes were drenched from the snow and slush, and the spray and water puddles on the ice itself. We were, after the adrenaline dump, wet and cold and both know hypothermia could hit fast, with a very negative outcome.
Our packs and shotguns were left on the edge of the swamp during the rescue effort.
We marched back to the swamp edge, and immediately began hunting for dry firewood from deep under the rabbit-piles where some dryness was sustained. After a while, we gathered enough to make a fire, and with some fire starter from our packs and some dry moss pulled from a spruce, we made fire.
We are focused only on getting dry and warm. We are too far from our vehicle to hike out. We needed to get warm and dry first and quickly. The fire began small, buttook, and we fed it little by little, until it got going on its own, gulping the seashore air.
It is about this time that we noticed the doe was at the fire with us, watching our every move. She stood between us as we took off wet wool coats and wool sweaters, put them on sticks, and jury-rigged them close to the fire. We are there perhaps an hour, can’t say how long for sure now, because we weren’t paying attention to time, then and all the while our doe remained with us, looking from him to me, to the fire, and occasionally we saw her glance out at the rollers that surely would have killed her.
When we were finally warmed enough to think clearly and the fire had dried the wool coats a little, we donned our gear, grabbed our shotguns, slid into our packs, and started hiking east, paying no heed to rabbits.
The doe walked beside us all the way out to the Corvair and we kept trying to shoo her away , but she refused and stayed with us. We opened the trunk and stashed our packs and unloaded guns, and tried again to shoo her away from the road, but she still refused to move and our last look was that doe standing where the car had been, watching us.
We know deer are not human, but in a strange moment like this had been, you had to wonder what was going through her mind.
This is one of those things you seldom talk about. I hadn’t even thought about it until MSU had the 50th anniversary of the lacrosse program and we all came from all around the country to be together again as a team and friends and Sandy Haeger (Bill’s wife) said something about the deer and Bill mumbled “nobody would believe it,” or something along that line and the story went untold. I think.
We took no lives that day in the swamp and had a lapin-less dinner of eggs and bacon and toast, or something. And beer, of course.
Today is the day before Christmas Eve Day, 2014. I was standing outside this morning in a cold icy mist and this memory came flooding back to me. My friend Bill Haeger graduated from MSU in 1965, as did Wags and I. Bill served in the Army and afterwards joined the automotive industry, where he rose to be a senior executive with Cadillac. He married his college sweetheart, Sandy, and they are still married, more than a half century later. Wags joined the Foreign Service and made a career of it, also marrying his college sweetheart Mary and they too are still together and he, like me is now a novelist.
The heading on this story may seem confusing until you know that Bill Haeger was known by his friends and teammates throughout our college years as Wolfman. As a lacrosse line we were The Wolf, The Wags, and the Wood.
Those who’ve never had the challenge, privilege, and intense pleasure of joining that dance of ferocity and compassion that was and is lacrosse (and later that of flying) will never quite understand the unbreakable bonds that are forged, bonds that endure over time.
It’s corny, but I love those guys from those beat-up playing fields, and the crewmates I flew with in another time and place. But flying is a story for later in this recounting, and this tale is now almost ended.
I am reminded again of Matsuo Basho, that sage poet of Seventeenth Century Japan. He was (as I am) the son of a samurai. Wrote Basho, “A man infirm/ with age, slowly sucks/ A fish bone.” We are all of us from that long-ago time, now infirm with age.
The fishbone is memory.
Tonight I finished my next to last edit of the draft of BUCKULAR DYSTROPHY. Next up, type in the changes and tweaks and reread it one more time, and shoot it off to my agent before the New Year comes in.
I have been reading various things (as a break from revising) and ran across something from David Quammen in WILD THOUGHTS FROM WILD PLACES. Quammen gives us the following look at personal values and all that endless subject entails. He doesn’t state explicitly that these are his values. I read this more of an exemplar of what a personal testament might look like.
He writes, “Personal ethics involves the drawing of lines. I will go as far as this boundary, here, but I will not go beyond. I will defend myself against personal menace, but only pacifically. I will fight if attacked, but I will not kill. I will kill if my family is threatened, but I won’t aggress. I will squash an earwig in the kitchen but not a beetle in the yard. I will eat plants, but not animals. I will eat tuna but not dolphin. I will eat goat, but not pig, fruit but not vegetables. I’m a Jainist, I will harm no living thing – except when I breathe or walk down the street, and then only unintentionally. There’s a fuddling welter of such crisscrossing strictures, each observed by its own faction of conscientious people. We all draw lines in different places, at different angles, and for different reasons, each line’s position reflecting a mix of individualized factors that include sensibility, emotion, experience, and taste (both in the broad and narrow senses of that word), as well as sheer righteous logic. Moral philosophy, unfortunately, is not one of the mathematical sciences.”
I don’t share many of Mr. Quammen’s beliefs, but I greatly admire how he lays them out, and more importantly how he has come to them thoughtfully and largely on his own. How we each come to our own personal ethics is a sum of all the factors that influence our life choices. Quammen lays this out for us, and more to the point seems to describe the real world in which we have to find our own place and comfort level among an amazing array of increasingly expanding choices. Not everyone will choose what we choose. So be it. That’s a pretty good definition of freedom and as long as choices fall within the definition of the law, they should be honored as rightful personal choices people are free to make.
Life ain’t an easy hike. Never has been, and never will be. It is what it is and we each have to do our best to cope with what is before us.
My Uncle Harry died Dec. 18.
Harry B. Heywood
RHINECLIFF – Harry B. Heywood, 85, a resident of Rhinecliff since 1931, passed away at his home on Thursday, December 18, 2014.
Born in Elizabeth, NY on August 11, 1929, he was the son of Harry and Mary (Hamill) Heywood .
Harry graduated from Rhinebeck Central Schools and served in the U.S. Navy from 1949-1952; he was a graduate of the U.S. Naval School of Salvage Divers in 1951.
On October 18, 1951, he married Anne Cardell; together they have three children, Donald C. (Nancy) Heywood of Rhinebeck, Robert A. Heywood of Red Hook, and Sharon (Tony) DiBenedetto of Stewartsville, NJ.
Harry was an Excavating Contractor and the owner of Heywood Brothers, Inc for 35 years.
An active member of the Rhinecliff and Rhinebeck communities, Harry was a member of several local organizations. He was Life Member of the Rhinecliff Fire Department and Commissioner of the Rhinecliff Fire District. He was also a former member of the Neighbors Rod and Gun Club as well as a Charter Member of theBPOE #2022, Red Hook. Harry was a Communicant and former Trustee of the Good Shepherd /St. Joseph’s Parishes in Rhinebeck and Rhinecliff. Harry was also an active member in the American Legion Montgomery Post #429 in Rhinebeck.
In addition to his wife and children, Harry is survived by a brother, Roger W. (Phyllis) Heywood of Rhinebeck; grandchildren Sarah C., Rachel C., and Nicholas A. DiBenedetto; nieces Kerry Lynne Wery Hoeft, Sandra Heywood DiMarco, and Lori Heywood; nephews Joseph, James, and Edwin Heywood as well as several grandnieces and grandnephews.
Harry was predeceased by his parents, brothers, Edwin and Joseph Heywood and sisters, Marian Heywood Wery and Clara Heywood.
Calling hours are Sunday December, 21, 2014 from 4 to 7 PM at the Dapson-Chestney Funeral Home, 51 W. Market St., Rhinebeck. Members of the American Legion will conduct services at 6 PM and the Rhinecliff Fire Department will conduct a service at 6:30 PM .
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday, December 22, 2014, at 10:30 AM at St. Joseph’s Church, Rhinecliff. Burial with military honors will follow at St. Joseph’s Cemetery.
Memorial Donations in honor of Harry may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Attn: Tribute Department, PO Box 1000 Dept 142, Memphis, TN 38148 or to Feed the Children, PO Box 36, Oklahoma City, OK 73101.
– See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/poughkeepsiejournal/obituary.aspx?n=harry-heywood&pid=173529528&fhid=27382&FBNF=ShareObitAt#.VJbPh7hXf0M.facebook
David Quammen is a fine writer, and from what he writes, I assume he’s a fine fellow as well. In his book WILD THOUGHTS FROM WILD PLACES, he gives us the sort of hope-filled thinking we need on this first day of winter, looking into the maw of Alberta Clippers, polar vortexes, flu season, and snow that’s in Yooper patois, “clear and still, “which is to say, clear up to your butt and still snowing.
Mr. Quammen writes, “The trout is a synecdoche….”
He continues, “A Biologist would use the term indicator species. Because I have the biases of a literary journalist, working the great gray zone between newspaper reporting and fiction, engaged every day in trying to make facts not just talk but yodel. I speak instead of synechdoche. We both mean that a trout represents more than itself – but that, importantly, it does also represent itself. ‘A poem should not mean/But be,’ wrote Archibald MacLeish, knowing undeniably in his heart that a good poem quite often does both. Likewise a trout.
Quammen points out, “The presence of trout in a body of water is a discrete ecological fact that nevertheless signifies certain things. It signifies a particular complex of biotic and chemical and physical factors, a standard of richness and purity, without which troutly presence is impossible. It signifies aquatic nutrients like calcium, potassium, nitrate, phosphate; signifies enough carbon dioxide to nourish meadows of algae and to keep calcium in solution as calcium bicarbonate; signifies a prolific invertebrate fauna (Plecoptera, Trichoptera, Diptera, Ephemeroptera), and a temperature regime confined within certain daily and annual extremes. It also signifies clear pools emptying down staircases of rounded boulders and dappled with patterns of late-afternoon shade cast by chrome yellow cottonwood leaves in September. It signifies solitude so sweet and pure as to bring an ache to the sinuses, a buzz to the ears. Loneliness and anomie of the most wholesome sort. It signifies dissolved oxygen to at least four or five parts per million. It signifies a good possibility of osprey, dippers, and kingfishers, otters and water shrews, heron; it signifies Oncorhynchus clarki, Oncorhynchus mykiss, Salmo trutta. Like a well-chosen phrase in any poem, MacLeish’s included, the very presence of trout signifies at more than one level. Magically, these creatures are literal and real. They live in imagination, memory, and cold water.
When people ask us why Lonnie and I live in the UP for months at a time, we answer simply, “Trout,” Knowing in our hearts that this single word takes in all we find dear above the bridge and in some glorious spots below it as well.
But understand, the presence of trout, and fishing, are not synonymous. Montanan Quammen admits so poignantly, “A person can get too much trout fishing. Then it cloys, becomes taken for granted, meaningless,” and he adds that he doesn’t fish as much as he used to.
Same-same for us. See, the good life is about being in a place healthy enough and beautiful enough to nurture trout, and for us, that is enough,that — and simply knowing that your antique $30 bamboo fly rod is strung, hung on the wall, and ready to rock and roll. The knowing is enough for us most of the time and, when it’s not enough, you can fetch your switch down offen ‘at wall, grab the canvas creel with your reel and fly box in it, and head for the river or stream or pond, all of which are in easy walking distance and host not just trout and you, but visiting moose, and bears, and wolves and deer, and even an occasional dispersing cougar. (And game wardens watching us from under the radar.)
These are sweet thoughts to cuddle with to as winter begins, a sort of Christmas gift for the few days remaining until the Santa scramble parachutes in like a giant locust consuming all in its path.
As winter gathers steam from whence to hence, the day to aim for now is the Last Saturday in April.
Sorry I haven’t gotten more pix up from the deer season with my DNR partners, but work has intervened. Will put pix up when the deck is clear again.
[WILD THOUGHTS FROM WILD PLACES was published in 1998 by Scribner. See if your local independent book store can find it for you.]
Every deer season is different. This year I decided to work below the bridge on the northwest side of the state.
DAY 1: Friday, November 14. My partner is CO Steve Converse. We are working Manistee County with a brief foray into Benzie. It’s always something when I head out to work with COs this time of year. Say snow. No don’t say snow. Say a lot of snow. Seriously. Up to 18 inches coming down in parts of the area. Boy. Skies the color of year-old motor oil, roads white and slicker, it forces you to drive by judging your vehicle’s position relative to well…whatever you can see, or imagine, a sort of free-form aiming which creates a form of free-for-all driving you hope doesn’t end up in a demolition derby. Conservation Officers, of course, go about their business and would never deign to remark on something as pedestrian and irrelevant as weather. Whatever happens outside, COs are in it and working away. Part of this is a sort of studied, test-pilot nonchalance, an inner directive that has officers calling fights with suspects, “wrestling.” Weather is so low in the lexicon that it has no euphemisms. It just is. This is Friday, Nov. 14, the day before the deer season begins and we roll at 1230, intending to work until well after dark. Tomorrow, Saturday, is the official firearms opener, a pure weekend event. With this heavy snow it’s hard to know what sort of turnout we will find. Here’s how our day goes, contact by contact:
- We locate 3 hunters in process of baiting blinds, all over limits. They are warned to clean it up, reduce the bait to legal.
- Next we come upon 2 trucks, three hunters going to blinds on state land. We check. Large trees have been cut for shooting lanes, no names on blinds, overbaited. Too many problems here to simply warn. Ticket and warnings issued.
- Walk in to blind in the snow, find trapper working, check his traps, licenses, etc, all well.
- Two birdhunters in truck. Shotgun cases slightly unzipped, but not easily reachable. Verbal warnings and licenses checked.
- Check two hunters setting up blinds, trash everywhere. Told to remove the trash
- Check two hunters in truck, crossbow in back in a case
- Check hiker
- Complaint from “Lake Italy” which we can’t find. Steve isn’t aware of such a body of water in Manistee County and neither am I. We check map after map and the rolling electronic map and nada. We call complainant back for clarification and move on while awaiting the call back. We learn the complaint comes from a different lake and get the right name.
- We come across two trucks, three older adults in one, two in the other, all with open intox. They claim, “We thought road pops were legal on two-tracks.” Steve smiles, says, nopers. We dump the beverages and warn them.
- Later in the day we come across two illegal does, seize them and issue tickets. We end the patrol watching for a night shooter in an area where there have been complaints. These are the first illegal deer Steve has bagged on the night before deer season. It’s always good to be part of an officer’s firsts.
- Steve has intelligence on an unlicensed hunter, a felon whacking deer in a certain area. We park in the woods, hike a third of a mile downhill and set up surveillance on the domicile and stand there shifting our weight for a couple of hours in the 20 degree temps. The guys doesn’t appear, but a few days later Steve will encounter him and catch him with two illegal does, and get a confession on other kills from this fall.
- We have had 41 events/stops on this day, with 64 people contacted.
DAY 2: Saturday, November 15, CO Steve Converse, Benzie and Manistee Counties: Firearms opening day. We take off at 0800. Here are the day’s events. I should comment here that my notes are nasty and disorganized so I am going to play only the high spots and enough to provide readers with a sense of the tempo of this business.
- Right off the starting line we find a hunter walking across a road with two rifles. We pull in and talk to him. He is totally unaware we area there until we speak and then he seems startled. He claims he has just shot at a buck and is now changing locations. He is dressed in military camo with blaze orange highlights, an unusual fashion statement. We have lots of snow, backtrack him to check out his story. He claims to have shot at a buck and missed. Indeed he has. He has hit a tree and blown it apart. Why two rifles? The shorter one is for when he is in heavy cover, the longer one for the open. The longer one is all sighted in, the shorter one is not. He encounters a nice buck in the open and which rifle does he shoot with? The unsighted-in shorter one. People. Sheesh.
- Talk to three hunters in a truck. They are running late getting into the woods.
- We find a hunter on an ORV, everything okay. Rifle cased and unloaded. We move on.
- Yesterday we found a blind that was over-baited. Today we re-visit. Find a young man in a ghillie suit, the blind still over-baited by a huge amount and he is smoking dope. We take the dope force him to destroy it in front of us, write ticket for the bait and warn on cutting branches, take his psychedelic pipe, and move on.
- Check another hunter who has cut large trees for shooting lanes and is over-baited by a ridiculous amount. So far we’ve not talked to one nimrod who knows the bait limit is 2 gallons and has been for a decade or so. It is quite apparent that most hunters do not bother to read the hunting guide put out at great cost by the state. This has been true for the 14 years I have been doing ride-alongs with COs.
- That afternoon we come across a camp of some people from the Grand Rapids area. They have an undersized deer that does not fit the Antler Point Restrictions in effect for the county, and they have not bothered to validate the tag. Tickets issued, the deer goes with us, we now have three in back, two from last night.
- We continue making contacts all day, find one hunter from southeast part of the state: uncased gun in vehicle, no hunter orange, no name on tree stand, grossly over-baited, hunting in closed area, no idea of APR rules, much less the hunting guide. Tickets issued.
- The radio to Station 20, the REPORT ALL POACHING line is jammed with officers in line to run various records on their contacts, from ops licenses to retail sales records of hunting, fishing licenses, etc, to DNR priors. There are times when we can use the county to do this, but it’s better to go through Lansing. Everyone is busy and in opening day geeked mode, adrenaline on full pump for all involved, hunters and game wardens.
- Well after dark, we stop at a conservation club and find a10-point buck. The hunting license was bought at 0830 this morning. The same hunter bought doe licenses last night — on his way to camp. The picture seems clear. He intended to shoot does, but a nice buck walked up this morning and he shot it, and then went to town to get a license. He initially denies all and spins the story thus: We don’t usually shoot bucks on our property so I only bought doe licenses last night. But my dad told me he’s been seeing a lot of bucks on the property this year, so I went out this morning and got a buck license, just in case, and wouldn’t you know it, a nice buck walked up and I knocked it down. The first rule among a lot of deer hunters seems to disassemble and play ignorant when challenged. The default is to have a bullshit lie in your pocket, even over the most trivial things. Eventually our bearded nimrod admits that he shot the buck and then bought his license later. In addition he hasn’t fully validated the tag and it seems that perhaps he is thinking he might use it again. This is not to be. He is ticked for an illegal deer and this year under the new trophy buck restitution rules, this one could cost him a fat $7500 plus in restitution and court costs. Not only has he cheated but he has entered the animal in a big buck contest. This is what allowed us to uncover the deal. Greed got him twice. We take his rifle as well, just as we took a rifle for the other three illegals in the truck. The buck goes in our Silverado bed and now we have four riding with us. The meat from these animals will be given to needy families either directly or through various county or church agencies. Finally in Michigan we have changed our license and fine structures and now we are more on par with other states, almost all of whom have had much more expensive licenses for years and who deal with the illegal killing of trophy animals with ruthless prosecution.
- Late in the day we get a complaint of an ORV running around on public land during the quiet period and we head over that way and find one man in a tree blind, no orange, unregistered ORV, no case for his rifle, meaning he is carrying an uncased gun on a motor vehicle. He is also hunting on private land without permission and has an over-bait at his blind. He is absolutely clueless and tells us he has a partner across the road We go from Eeny to find the partner Moe, who has even more issues and no hunting license. Both men get several major strokes plus warnings. The scene with this pair is too surreal for words.
- Our day finishes around 2330, a 15-hour day in the vehicle and on the hoof in the snow.
DAY 3, Sunday, November 16, CO Mike Wells, Newaygo County. I drove from Benzonia down to White Cloud to meet Mike around 11 a.m. at the sheriff’s parking lot. I will check into a hotel in Fremont when the patrol day is ended.
- We begin making contacts with hunters. It is snowing heavily and we are hearing the same story over and over, no deer, no shots, no nothing.
- We check a duck hunter, whose truck is parked along a river. Wifey is in the truck playing with her smart phone, kept company by a large liver lab. The hunter is down along the river. Mike tromps down to check him and I ask her why she’s not hunting. “I do sometimes, but today I’d rather be in the truck.” Interesting marriage, I think.
- We apy two trucks and five hunters getting ready to hike onto state land and check IDs and licenses. One of them has left his driver’s license at camp and is getting ready to go into the woods to hunt. Mike instructs him to go back to camp and get the ID. Another hunter in the group of five presents a doe tag for an area around Alpena County and for private land. We are standing on public land far far from Presque Isle County. He lost his license and stopped at a nearby stop-n-rob to get a new one and claims this is the doe tag they gave him. We tell him he can’t hunt with that tag in Newaygo and we drive over to the place where the tag was issued and straighten it out and send the hunter on his way. Had he shot a deer with the tag he had, it would have been an illegal kill. Mike has gone the extra mile to help this guy.
- This evening we sit on a truck parked along a power line in a state game area and we wait, and when the hunter comes out we check and find his gun is unloaded and he tells us he shot a buck that morning. His tag entitles him to another and Mike asks to see the buck and he is reluctant, but his camp is across the street, literally, and when we go over there and he finally gets around to opening his garage, voila, there are three deer, the buck and two does, both illegally tagged. He claims to have shot them on his own land, which is irrelevant: both doe tags are for another DMU (Deer Management Unit). The hunter’s brother takes photos of Mike taking photos of everything. Just one more weird contact among many. We now have two illegals in the bed in back
DAY 4: Monday, November 17, CO Mike Wells. Mike fetches me from the hotel in Fremont at 1100 and we head out,
- Our first stop at a processor where we find 6 questionable animals and a hornless buck killed as a doe, which is legal but odd. The animal was old, and there is no way of knowing how the horns were lost, but the stub is flat on the head. Some animals we ask the processor to set aside until we can contact and talk to the hunters. Others are clearly in violation and we take those with us.
- We drive over to a lake cottage to talk to a hunter about a doe with the wrong DMU tag. He claims it is an honest mistake. The records indicate otherwise. We take the deer and this firearm. He says his wife is gonna kill him. So it goes.
- We drive down to Grant in northern Kent county and talk to a man who has shot a deer with only one antler, which has only two points. He claims there were four on the other side, but the antler came off when he dragged it with his ORV. We end up confiscating the carcass for donation. Man claims the deer was wounded by someone else and he finished it off, but not all points of the story seem to add up.
- We later take an illegally-taken eight point and afterwards drive out to a property where we have a complaint of various shenanigans. We are sitting near the property and hear two shots. We wait for the hunter to come out, but he doesn’t. Instead, a son-in-law shows up. He has been summoned by text message by his wife to help her dad with a deer. We drive out to the tower blind to find an untagged, partially gutted doe, which we take. Tickets are written, warnings given. This guy has a lot of property and multiple doe tags and has shot so many deer he can’t remember which was which. He also has Parkinson’s
- We then deal with a 16 year old who is in a family dispute
- Then we stop to help a woman who has gone nose first into the ditch. She has just moved up here from down south somewhere.
- I’m supposed to work with CO Holly Penoni in Wexford tomorrow, but we are all getting a major snowstorm. I call her and tell her I’ll stay in Newaygo with Mike and ride with her another time. She says weather up there is in a warning and nasty, schools closed. Good decision. I get back to the hotel around 2030, a 12-hour day in the heavy snow.
DAY 5:Tuesday, November 17, CO Mike Wells: We begin again with the processor to let them know which animals they can proceed to butcher. And we take those we have determined are illegal, plus one questionably head in a freezer, shot down in Kent County by a woman from north of here. We hope to talk to her today at some point. CO Jeff Ginn, Mike’s Newaygo partner joins us and the two check tags and divvy up their findings and cases.
- We head to the magistrate to turn in tickets after visiting the processor.
- Then we drive to Grant again to interview a man whose deer appears to be somewhat suspicious. He looks like Grizzly Adams. He claims the buck was found dead at the base of his hunting stand and that he gutted it and called the county for permission to keep it. The deer was shot by someone else, and dead when he found it, a small buck. His father’s girlfriend has loaned a tag to tag the deer so it can be processed. He may not keep an animal shot by another. He may not tag it with another’s tag, etc. The deer stays with us. Mike will later question the girlfriend of the father to see what the story is on that end. A quick check with Retail Sales indicates some other irregularities that will need to be addressed with other interviews. These cases are invariably quagmires.
- We investigate a hunting from snowmobile complaint.
- We have a complaint of carcasses dumped in Newaygo and the witness has a vehicle description and information on two individuals. We find the carcasses dumped down a steep (60 degree) incline. Mike rigs a strap for himself and another to hitch to the two carcasses and a Newaygo dep and I help lower him and I pull up the evidence, and later Mike is retrieved. As this is going on, the man shows up to turn himself in. We deal with this over a period of time, including a chat with the man’s brother, who claims to have never hunted, but last bought a license in 2010. Mike will follow up with this more in the future. We never get down to Kent to talk to the woman with the nice 8-point, but Mike gets there later and calls me to fill me in. The woman killed the buck, then bought her license. She recognizes Mike from last year when he warned her on not enough hunter orange and some overbaiting. He tells me he knew then he should have pushed more, but he had other complaints hanging. The eight point trophy head remains in his truck.
- Our night ends with a BOL for a man who has shot and killed an unknown number of individuals in Kalkaska County (“total body count unknown at this time) and was last seen flying south wearing full body armor and with a car loaded with firearms and perhaps a child hostage. We start heading north ward after we learn the BOL is from an three hour old incident, which means this eight-ball could very easily be in our area now. It will turn out that he is captured in a house later that day, after having murdered his ex-wife in front of his kids, and then his ex father in law. We don’t really talk about it. We just head north to be in position to help if help is needed. This is how top COs are: They fly to the violence and where they are needed by citizens or other law enforcement agencies.. They do not stop to ponder risk-benefit when time could be critical.
DAY 6, Wednesday, November 18, CO Rebecca Hopkins, Benzie County: I have driven up to Becky’s this morning for an 1100 start time. Will be bunking with her and Greg Hubers, her significant other, and their lab Bailey who is a grandpup of retired DNR Sgt. Pete Malette over in East Tawas. Pete’s mutts are everywhere and all wonderful animals. The is wnome snow and snowy roads, but not nearly as bad as the drive down to Newaygo County.
- First item of biz is to check phone messages, including tomes from supervision.
- We drive onto state land and follow vehicle tracks to a parking spot. En route we saw a fresh foot path. Now we figure out the guy parked here and make a large loop. No hunter.
- We check a truck where a fellow is going out into the woods to pick up a blind.
- There is not a lot of hunting activity in the woods in this weather and in most cases deer will be bedded down and holding tight. But you never know unless you are out and moving. We look for hunters along roads, searching for any fresh tracks in the snow that we can follow. Road-hunting from vehicles this time of year is far from uncommon
- We follow several tracks, find where people have parked and walked in, follow the tracks to blinds where snow had covered bait and nobody is home. It looks like “one of those days. Last time Becky and I worked together in Iosco County we ended up in a manhunt for an armed felon and brought in a state police dog to help and arrested the man, got his gun and his dope etc, and exciting, strenuous day in the woods. This does not look like it will turn out to be another cruncher, but the thing in law enforcement is that it can be boring and quiet and then all hell can break lose with no warning.
- We visit a processor to check tags and records.
- Becky is telling me about a local na’er-do-well. It is snowing like the dickens and she says this is the sort of weather this yayhoo favors for drives. It is the sort of nasty weather making it likely that only the hardiest hunters, or violators will be out and about. The wind chill puts the air at about 10 degrees or lower. Deer will not move in this of their own volition. Hunters will have to encourage them, either by still-hunting, which is a misnomer because a still hunter is actually a slow-moving hunter, or by group drives where some are “posted” to wait for prey to be driven to them. The “drive” has been around as long as hunting in groups, a cooperative venture, man’s hallmark, though wolves and other species also cooperate in the hunt for meat. A few days before, my partner briefed me on her “regulars,” including a certain one nickname for a predator. The man has means and a lot of property, but a very shady record when it comes to the DNR and his outdoor activities. He travels with a retinue (coterie?) of younger followers, kind of a minor king and his court. The younger souls walk and the older royalty posts and waits to shoot. The group tends to kill anything they see with horns, and if a deer turns out to be illegal, they leave it lay and move on. True pigs by all standards. So, we are bopping along in the snow and Becky says, “This is the kind of weather His Majesty Likes for his group drives. We come to a narrow lane with one set of vehicle tracks and turn in to follow. She says, “I think we can get through here.” Minutes late we see one hunter in a full-body orange punkin suit and a vehicle. My partner is animated and pointing with a stabbing finger at the vehicle. “It’s our boy!” She checks the one hunter, asks if he has permission on the private property where he stands. The man says, “Dunno, I guess. This is my first time hunting with this group. We leave the man and drive on. Less than a hundred yards further on we spot the King, but he turns his back on us and we continue on and see two more posts as we work our way down a steep hill in deep snow and circle the area and decide to set up to wait and listen. We find a spot where tracks suggest one of the drivers got dropped, so we park there, turn off the motor and get out of the truck in the snow to listen and wait. Two trucks pass us. The second one leans on his horn several times as he passes the opening to the lane we had gone down earlier. “Busted,” Becky grumbles. Minutes later we hear voices from the direction of the King’s truck and then it comes down the lane, pulls out onto our road and goes the other direction. The rolling stock is part of the hunting crew, it’s job to recce for game wardens and signal if we are seen. This is a new development for this crew, who Beck has busted before and this suggests she is having an impact on how they operate. See, this is a psychological game. Becky made our presence known to the King and let him know if there was a shot we would come to check it out. He decicded to move on. She has made the point that she is watching them, and will always be. She can say on her daily report that she checked one hunter, but that is superfluous in the bigger picture of cat-and-mouse with a long-time violator, a man of my age and another sad poster boy for buckular dystrophy.
DAY 7, Thursday, November 19, CO Rebecca Hopkins:
- First order of biz is a call to CO Pat McManus in neighboring Lelanau County. He wants us to serve as extra eyes on a case he is investigating in his county. We say sure and arrange the timing, etc.
- We continue on into the woods, get the first true snowmobile check of the season, an older guy on a $13,000 machine he bought yesterday. He is of course operating in the “quiet time” when machines are not supposed to be used, lest they disturb game and hunters, but this fellow is on a county road and a snowmobile is a state-licensed vehicle, like an auto, so Becky tells him to stay off the back roads. By contrast, ORVs or registered with the DNR, not licensed through the secretary of state. It’s unusual to have this much snow this time of year so the issue normally relates to ORV use in the quiet period. This is definootely a “different” deer season.
- Next we find a man putting out bait for a friend. We remind him of the limit, which he doesn’t know.
- Then we foot-track a man to a blind with overbatit, but bait covered with deep snow.
- Then we bump into a couple of guys. We were on a two track and stopped and hear two shots and a small buck came warp-speeding past us and we went looking and found two men, both deaf and dumb. All commo by notes on pads. More surreality. Yes, they shot at the deer. Yes they missed. No they don’t know why. We show them the tree they hit and they nod and Weeble off into the woods.
- Midday we join CO McManus in Lelanau. Pat and I have also partnered before, down in Allegan, his previous assignment. Here we meet a man who intelligence says has whacked an unimaginable number of deer. He is a businessman, a war vet and has a million-dollar house atop a hill with a million-dollar view of Lake Michigan. There is an endless line of informants in this case, all of them beyond their limits in the killing machine’s handling of deer. We are behind Patrick as we head to the address, and see the suspect coming out of the area. Pat turns on him to pull himover and we head to the house. Becky goes to the door and the wife answers. She knows nothing about nothing. We find blood and deer hair everywhere, including deer legs sticking out of a trash bin. It will turn out later that there is a fawn in there with back-straps taken out and remains of other animals. This guy has special tags issued to orchard owners to help them cut down on deer damage. Just this year the wildlife division decided to let hunters take some bucks on these properties, but with bows, not fire arms and any deer taken had to be delivered to the DNR for research. Our suspect shot a ten-point buck and instead of turning it in, he put a tag on it to keep it and took it to a taxidermist. We are at the place most of the afternoon by the time we leave have four illegal deer in Pat’s truck. This is not to be our last visit with Mr. Top of the Hill.
- As evening approaches, we get a call from and MSP detective trooper asking us to assist in the arrest of fugitive from new Mexico. We meet at a small state police office, three troops, Becky and me and we go through the entry plan, what to do if the fugitive tries to flee, if someone gets injured, every eventuality from good to bad, everything expected and some unexpected. We are awaiting the fax of a signed arrest warrant from a judge; when that comes through we put together our four-vehicle convoy and head for the house where the fugitive has been holed up for three months. A mile from the target we see someone in dark clothes walking precariously along the dark road and we of course curse him for his stupidity, etc, but the arrest is foremost on our minds and we move on. I stay with the truck. The detective says “We may have you come in and sit with this guy while we do our search. We’ll come get you.” So I sit. The entry is made, there is no ruckus. But a car pulls up and I go over to it and find two very elderly women who say they are coming to a dinner party with their very dear friends and one of the women says “I demand to know what’s going on. I have a constitutional right,” and I say, “No ma’am, you don’t. You’ll have to wait here until the officers come down to talk to you. Moments later my partner shows up and the driver says, “Is he okay? And then, “You look just like a movie star I can’t remember her name. Becky tells the women they can go back down the hill to the house of the fugitive’s father and wait there. Then we get a missing person/ walk-away report and Beck calls Central and gets the complaint. Young man 19 or 20 has walked away from home angry. Has “some mental issues.” Becky and I look at each other. The description of the clothing on the walkaway seems to match that of the person we saw walking down below on the road as we rolled into this place. What’re the chances? She takes the information and gets cleared by the state police to move on and we head for the walkaway’s house, where we find a very nervous mom and dad. The young man has depression signs but has never been diagnosed. Possibly suicidal. They have been out looking for him and can’t find him. We carefully question them on how the boy is dressed and it matches very closely the person we saw. We tell dad this and he heads toward where we were six miles away and we stay to calm and talk to mom. By the time we get back into our truck, the fugitive is on his way to jail, two of the Troops are freed from the arrest case, and tell us on the radio they’ll hunt for the walkaway. A dep also reports in and says he will help. Since that area is now flooded we head another direction and shortly Central Dispatch calls to say Dad has found the boy and has taken him home. Beck is recommending they take the boy to the hospital for a mental evaluation and deputy heads over to help the family, understanding that the boy may be resistant to this, which is often the case.
- Now we get a call from a man who wants a keep permit for a deer struck by a vehicle. We drive to his house and check it out. It had broken leg, no bullet wounds and the story fits and he is given the deer.
- An aside here, Becky was born with a condition which gave her more rods and cones than normal people. Bright sun bothers her eyes, but she has a bat’s night capabilities and moves around in the blackness like its damn near daylight.
- Fugitive arrest, lost persona and a deer permit all in the last 90 minutes. This is how it goes. We are back home at Beck’s around 2115. Greg, her significant other, arrives with two metg-lover’s pizzas and I open a bottle of red wine. It is his birthday. Originally we were going to take him out to dinner to celebrate, but reality got in our way. This is how life is for our police officer couples. The movie star and I toast his birthday and relax to gird ourselves for whatever the next day will bring. Fine company, people of heart with huge hearts and courage to match. I am honored to be in their presence
DAY 8, Friday, November 20, CO Pat McManus: I meet Pat in Empire at the Sleeping Bear Dunes park HQ at 1100.
- We visit a taxidermist to collect the antlers that Top-of-theHill left there. We also pick up a mounted owl that belong to a Tribal who never showed up to get it and Pat will take it to give it to a school for its science classes. The owl case was formerly Sgt. Mike Borkovich’s case, another of my former partners, but Mike is now retired from the DNR and has been elected sheriff of Lelanau County.
- We head for the Lelanau County court to visit the prosecuror and magistrate to lay out the case on the hill killer and to explain how the investigation will continue. We meet the prosecutor Joe Hubbard, a pal of my coach Ed Jarvie, the assistant prosecutor and the magistrate, Noreen Kastys and talk to them
- And we get a phone call. Mr Top of the Hill is trying to reach Patrick to “talk.” We drive out there again and find the road covered with blood and continue to the house and go inside and the talk resumes and the guy says he can’t help himself and he wants to come clean, but he continues to play word games. The house has a spotlight on back, overlooking a killing zone of narrow defiles, bait below and a rifle in a case on the porch under the light. We get confession for another deer and as we get ready to back out, my partner points. “Red?” Another deer. So we go over and get photos and return to the house once again. He now admits to this deer as well, a doe. We take only the head with us. And we leave again and driven by curiosity of the blood on the road, do some looking around and find a kill site on a bait pile and a spent 30-06 cartridge in a popup blind. Back to the house again and now he is confused, but eventually says yes, there are these two more deer, after trying to convince us it was just the one he previously told us about. Patrick adds two more charges to the list and we pull out, knowing this is not yet over. The man is incapable of telling the truth, a true victim of what some COs call buckular dystrophy, the need to kill bucks for antlers.
DAY 9, Friday, November 21, CO Pat McManus: We meet again in Empire, this time at 1000
- We start the day by visiting some park law enforcement personnel.
- We get a call from CO John Huspen who is over in Roscommon County and has a case he wants help with. A man over there had bear tag for the Gwinn unit but may have in fact shot the bear in Red Oak (BTB) and tagged it with the Gwinn tag. Can we go visit the taxidermist and take a look at the tag? You bet. John is also a former partner of mine.
- We visit the taxidermist. The tag is indeed for Gwinn, so we take the head and skin. The animal weighted 300 pounds, has beautiful huge head. Pat will meet John tomorrow halfway and pass the evidence to him. While we are in this place, my partner checks various antlers there for mounting and finds one with a questionable tag on it, a huge ten point trophy buck.
- We take a complaint of a black dog harassing a hunter and later we collect two more illegal deer and call it a day.
DAY 10, Sunday , November 22, CO Rebecca Hopkins: This was not to be a patrol day, but Greg and I are sitting on the porch at 0700 when an early shot rings out. Close to the house. He awakens Becky, who come out growling and we scoot down the road ahead of her and find what we think is the vehicle attached to the shot and it is and she walks in and find the hunter with an untagged doe and deals with it, a quarter of a mile from their house. Later in the day I sign books at Horizon Books in Traverse City, and then boogie south through fog and heavy rain to Kazoo, arriving around 1830 hours. More awful driving conditions. I will take a break now to write until the last two days of the season.
DAY 11, Saturday, November 29, CO Jeff Goss, Calhoun County: I meet Jeff at the Athens fire department and move my gear into his truck.
- Jeff is looking for an errant trapper and we stop and check for traps at a couple of streams and then we visit an informant and learn the guy lives somewhere in a small town nearby and we go there but can’t find him. We will keep visiting. The guy has warrants, may be in possession of a stolen moped and our informant tells us he is packing without a CPL and likes to fight. We decide to take him at night if we get the opportunity, use surprise to our advantage. His driver’s license is suspended but he is driving anyway and we have a vehicle description to help us.
- A complaint comes in on two swans shot in a cornfield. We find them and question neighbors. Not probably this one will get solved. People kill shit just to kill sometimes.
- Now we get a call. A police officer in Battle Creek has found a deer and wonders if it can be given away. Hit by a vehicle? No, shot. Stay right there, we’re coming. We arrive and find ourselves with a case of hunting inside the city limits, in a very dense housing area. We get some information about a possible suspect and go there and a dog comes to the door but no person. We find a bear skin on a wood pile and a skull. Jeff takes the seal number of the bear to check with Wildlife on Monday. We go down into he woods and track the deer but cannot figure out exactly from where it was shot. It is I nice big eight- point. We will be at this house and in this area off and on for the next two days, trying to develop leads and doing interviews and run into a whole bevy of lockjawed “Creekers.”
- We have a case in Olivet of a stolen deer and are intending to get up there, but complaints keep intervening.
- We visit a processor and then check some deer hanging in garages. We knock off after 9 or ten hours, to resume tomorrow. We have three illegal deer cases to follow up on, the heads are in the back of the truck, and the two dead swans and the illegal 8 point. Our truck bed looks like a rolling abattoir.
At dark we see a truck parked on a two track, go down the road and sit and wait to check hunters coming out of the field. We hear two shots and when we approach the hunters, a man and a young boy, the adult says he shot at a coyote and then at a deer. They are going to pick up the boy’s father who is hunting elsewhere. So we follow them to the pickup where the other man denies he was hunting and claims he was scouting for his friend that he had killed a buck yesterday. Jeff suspect he got a phone call and stashed his weapon. We take them all back to the original site, walk into the blind which is grossly over-baited and the hunter has a black powder gun and a rifle, which he can’t have afield in this season. Jeff tickets him for the gun and warns on the bait. The guy tells us he thinks the bait limit is 75 gallons. He has never read the guide. His record shows an illegal bear bait ticket from up north some years back.
- The vehicle follows us for a while, which is odd. We pull off, it turns around, we wait and follow dark and come upon the truck parked dark by the side of the road. We slow down and it flips on lights and moves out. Odd behavior. Jeff is pretty sure they are trying to figure out if we are headed back to the spot where we picked up the dad. We are. They go one way and we head there and park and hide the truck and start trying to track in the mud, but lose tracks when they get into the woods. We could have used snow. I stay with the truck, can see Jeff flip on his light from time to time and then after a long while another flahligh to my right and a couple hundred yards I assume Jeff has crossed back over in the dark, but when he get back to the truck it turns out it wasn’t him. Shit. That’s prolly where the weapon was and they slipped back in from another location to grab it. I get home around 10 p.m.
DAY 12, Sunday, November 30, CO Jeff Goss, Calhoun County: Athens again, 0830
- We search again for our wayward trapper, with no luck. We talk to another informant who confirms the vehicle our boy is driving.
- We then get a call from the county. A woman has a skunk in a trap in her trailer park and she is concerned the animal has not eaten in two days. She has no idea who owns the live trap. She is from Georgia and drives and expensive fancy car. Jeff has a sheet in the tool box. We locate Pepe Le Pew and cover the cage quietly and carry him it to the truck and drive to another complaint near a swampy stretch and release out captive there to go on with his life. Our lady at the park’s last words were, “Y’all aren’t gonna shoot it, are you? No Ma’am, we’ve not.”
- We check a hunter on a power line, a place known for illegal ORV activity. He is fine but we hear some shots and track those down to a house where they are target shooting. The old guy there missed a buck with his black powder gun and wants to sight in his shotgun. It is always something. Target practice in the middle of the day in deer season. Really?
We have information on a 10 point. The people who have it did not buy hunting licenses this year. There are two suspects and we arrange for new CO Matt Page to come from Branch County to handle one interview while we simultaneously talk to another suspect. We find both suspect at our address and the talking begins. Long story short, they spin a long story of a car accident and how they found the deer and took it and didn’t know how to get a permit, but they also told us it appeared to have been shot, which means they couldn’t take it at all.
Eventually two Troops showed up and since the deer had already been consumed, we confiscated the monster antlers. The boys had been bragging they killed it while hunting and entered a photo in a big buck contest. Lying through their teeth on all sort so of counts. They lost the antlers, another form of buckular dystrophy in action.
- We roll back into Battle Creek and interview various persons connected to the illegal deer. We are pretty sure the suspect is hiding in his house and ignoring knocks, but there’s not a lot we can do about if for the moment.
- The day ends checking garage deer in Burlington. Two of four have no tags and phone calls get made for tags to be brought back and all checks out.
So endeth the 2014 deer season for yours truly. I have logged 120 ½ hours in trucks in 12 days. There are still illegal deer cases pending, but the count while I was with officers is in the neighborhood of 25-30 for what amounts to less than 250 hunters. Buckular dystrophy still reigns. Sadly. Inexplicably.
HARDER GROUND’s official publication date is March 1, 2014. This is a collection of 29 short stories, each with a female protagonist. Great fun, and a challenge to write. There will be signings going up on the events section of this web site,, but here they are now: Sunday, Nov, 23, Horizon Books, Traverse City. And, Saturday, December 6th at Kazoo Books 3 p.m. in Kalamazoo at the Parkview Store. I’ll also be speaking in nearby Richland in January, but that’s already on the site.
Here are the titles of the 29 stories in HARDER GROUND:
First Day of the Last Day of the World
Gravy and Bear Breath
Working the Problem
The Roadrunner Should Make You Laugh
Midsummer Day’s Night
The Real Twelve Mike
Fishing For Glory
Gulf of Goths
Heads, Tails and Other Vague Body Parts
Dancing Hula in Felony Forest
Three Hours in the Chair of Wisdom
One and One is a Future Crowd
Mile-High Humble Pie
Hard As Nails
Just One More Second
Dogskin, the Olympian
Game for Names
My Perfect Italian